Lakers/Pistons: Motowned..

J.M. Poulard —  March 6, 2012

Box Score: Pistons 88, Lakers 85

Offensive Efficiency: Pistons 107.3, Lakers 103.7

True Shooting %: Pistons 46.0%, Lakers 50.2%

Coming off a big victory at home against the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, the Lakers had a chance to build on their three-game winning streak by taking on the Detroit Pistons on the road. If only…

The Good

The Lakers twin towers looked dominant on this night as they ran amok on the Pistons frontline. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined to produce 50 points and 24 rebounds on 21-for-32 field goal shooting.

On several occasions, the Lakers dumped the ball into their big men and watched them operate on the block and eat up their defenders; but Mike Brown also exploited the Pistons rotating defense in the pick-and-roll to get the ball to the big men.

Indeed, the Lakers continuously kept running screen-and-roll action from both the middle of the floor and the sidelines with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, which resulted in Detroit sending their second big man towards the Spaniard to help out but also often left either Ben Gordon or Rodney Stuckey stuck rotating to Bynum underneath the basket where he kept outmuscling them for easy scores.

The Lakers did a good job of beating traps as well as double teams to set up high percentage shots for the perimeter players as well as the interior scorers, which obviously benefited Gasol and Bynum.

On the other side of the ball, with Rodney Stuckey doing most of the damage for the Pistons, the Lakers did a relatively decent job of trapping him to get the ball out of his hands late in the shot clock and then not allowing him to run back to the ball to create good scoring opportunities.

The Lakers defense forced the Pistons into some tough shots and limited them to 39.8 percent field goal shooting thanks to their eight blocks and their activity around the rim.

The Bad

The Lakers defense was exceptional in the first and third quarters, holding the Pistons to a combined 26 points. However, when Detroit went to their second unit early in the second and fourth quarters, the Pistons then played terrific defense and forced the Lakers to shoot perimeter jumpers and then got out in transition for some easy scores.

In a game where the victorious team scored 88 points, Detroit’s 19 fast break points loomed rather large in the contest. Stuckey and Gordon were able to get out in the open court and score right at the rim as a result of pushing the ball down the court while the Lakers big men were often caught retreating.

This explains how a Pistons team that struggled to score at the rim against a set defense still managed to produce 46 points in the paint on the night.

The Ugly

As terrific as the Lakers were on the interior, they were just as terrible from the perimeter. On the night, Los Angeles converted (and I use the term loosely) 3-of-22 shots from 3-point range, which obviously failed to complement the Lakers interior scoring.

Also, Kobe struggled from the field in Detroit, making 8-of-26 shots from the floor, primarily matched up against Tayshaun Prince and Damien Wilkins.

Going forward, it will be important for some of the perimeter players to step up and make a few shots to loosen up defenses that will otherwise pack the paint. On this night, the poor shooting not only cost the Lakers points, but it also allowed the Pistons to get back into the game thanks to their transition game.

The Play of the Game

Although the Lakers were defeated on the road tonight, Kobe Bryant still had the best play of the game late in the fourth quarter.

With the Lakers down two points and the clock ticking down, the Mamba squared up in the middle of the court, jab stepped, drove to his right and stopped at the right elbow and elevated for a beautiful jump shot over the outstretched arms of Tayshaun Prince that he seemed to know was good once it left his hands.

The ball went through the hoop and barely touched the rim as time expired and the red lights on the backboard lit up, signaling that he had just sent the game into overtime.

Kobe may have made the shot, but his reaction afterwards could have fooled many as he seemed all business-like and less than impressed with the events that had just transpired.

The execution was flawless and was a carbon copy of all his typical late game heroics; but it is always a thing of beauty to watch him operate in these situations, especially against single-coverage.

J.M. Poulard

Posts

54 responses to Lakers/Pistons: Motowned..

  1. When 3 of your first 6 guys on the court are worthless 80% of the time you can’t be a contender. Another 2 point no defense game for Fisher. Bact to normal forvzmetta shooting 20% and get worked by stucky. Murphy your 6th man is just a big slow stiff. This are bad players.

    Through all that Coach Brown is scared to death of Kobe like he was of James. Instead of demanding he throws ball to 13 for 18 Bynam he sits like a gutless lame duck coach and watches Kobe brick the game away.

    That’s what you get when your replace basketball people with relatives and bar tenders.

    A first round and out team.

  2. Lakers switch is back on business, home games vs. road games; contenders vs below .500 teams, it is the lackadaisical laid back fairweather players. They can’t stop marauding cat-liked moves by Stuckey and Gordon, Fisher is too slow to get back on defense while Gasol kept on falling down. The second unit are too dependent on Bynum caught holding the ball too long without any intention of going to the basket. Everything is predictable when they’re on the road, go for the big 3 or bust.

    Do we have to wait for Howard deal to get help in 1? Why not sign Arenas if ypu cannot execute the Sessions deal? ‘Sheed’s experience could help the 2nd unit why not get him now before another team convince him to get into their camp. Ahhhh, too many variables and they’re all waiting for undecided Howard? It’s not the fault of Drew why Lakers lost today, yet he’s subject of being exchanged. Kobe made 22 and put Lakers in OT so you can’t fault him if he missed those 3′s, it is the role players who are all M.I.A starting from Murphy, Blake. What happened to other players like Kapono, Ebanks and McRob will they sit on the bench forever? Big 3 are playing 40 minutes while these 3 are zero minutes. Are they dumb players?

  3. Funky Chicken March 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Stuckey 13/20 for 34 points.

    Fish & Blake 1/4 for 2 points.

    Thirty two minutes for Fisher, and he gets two shots off, and manages one assist. In other words, pretty much any guard in college (or even high school) basketball could have done what Derek did tonight. Absolutely no contributions of any type on offense, and eaten alive on defense.

    Kobe’s 26 shots didn’t help either. Not much to summarize here. The Laker backcourt was atrocious.

  4. This was a very bad loss, a bad game for KB, a horrendous game for the bench, and another reminder that this team needs change. Since many want to focus on #24, here are a few comments about Kobe Bean Bryant

    1) Kobe is not the problem: He has outperformed expectations for the year, and this is in spite of a broken wrist, a broken nose, and ridiculous minutes.
    2) Kobe will never change: MB is not going to change KB after 16 years and neither is anyone else. Kobe is the Alpha and if you don’t want him to lead the pack, then you don’t want him on the team.
    3) Kobe is not Magic: I loved Magic as my ATF before Kobe came along. They are totally different players and Kobe will never be Magic. He has never been Magic and he is not going to change into Magic in his 16th year. Nobody knows what history would be like if Kobe was more Magic-like, but there is no way we would have won in 2009 or 2010 if he were more like Magic. So his style, as bold and arrogant as it is, has not cost us rings, in spite of the fact that the haters seem to think so.
    4) The Shaq Years: Kobe was the #2 to Shaq for much of that period, however just like in the wolf pack, the #2 dog was challenging the Alpha (Shaq) all the time. The Alpha didn’t like that and eventually it led to him leaving the pack (just like what happens in the wild). Do I wish those 2 could have stayed together for another 6 years? – of course, but it was not meant to be. Some of the haters have never forgiven Kobe for this, in spite of the fact that Kobe has given us 2009 + 2010.
    5) 2012: This team would be lost and empty without Kobe. He gives us the drive to win and gives the team its very soul. Personally, one of the main reasons I am desperate for D12, is because I dread the day I wake up and #24 is no longer on our roster, and we do not have another superstar ready to take his place.

    Kobe is simply one of the greatest ever and he is having a great season. And trust me, he wants another ring more than any individual records, so if there is anyway possible, let’s get him #6.

  5. If you have 5 seconds need a 3 pointer and your a sensible coach. How the heck can you have 2 big men on the floor?What kind of late game plays is Kuester drawing up.

    Kobe missed some shots but made plays. 3rd quarter gave the team a nice lead the bench lost it quickly.
    Late game: Kobe passed to Gasol who threw it out of bounds behind his back. Next play: Kobe tried for a hockey assist to Pau then found Metta wide open he bricked bad. 2 empty possessions

    Bynum had it going have to feed him. Big Game James said it best Mike Brown needs to get mad and let the team know who’s in charge. Lakerland Turmoil

  6. Reply to Edwin from the previous thread:

    People here are free to say that Kobe had a poor game when he actually really did have a poor game. Kobe didn’t play well tonight. He reverted back to shooting too many threes, and Tayshaun Prince defends him better than just about everyone else, including Shane Battier. If the Lakers had merely gotten a terrible performance from their 4th-9th men instead of an epically atrocious performance, this game would have been won in regulation by a margin of several points.

  7. Dude,

    Kobe had a poor game because he didn’t make those 3′s in the end? Because he didn’t pass the ball to Drew in the post? by the mere fact that’s he’s playing when in fact he’s injured, we all should be grateful for it. by the mere fact that he sent the Lakers to play OT, we should be rewarding him the least kudos.

    It is time for the others to step up. It is time for MBrown to coach and manage this team effectively. We all know for a fact that this team is poor on the road, that this team plays inconsistent basketball. Where are the elders from the Coaching staff to find solution to that dilemma. Must they always rely on Kobe, Kobe, Kobe or those twin 7 footers while the rest are all bystanders. If you blame Kobe, when do start blaming the Coaching who should be directing the show on what Kobe should be doing in the end. BTW, just my point of view.

  8. As crappy as this loss was, I actually don’t mind its larger implications, in that it painfully points out the roster needs that still need to be addressed. I want the Lakers to win every time out, but I’m leery that a sustained winning streak right now will lull management into sticking with the squad as is.

    Kobe, Pau, and Andrew are not the problem.

    Metta is an enigma you can tolerate. He isn’t going to be a consistent force every night, but he’ll have his share of good games against opponents he gets up for, which bodes well for playoff ball. Matt Barnes is going to be Matt Barnes, a backup 3 who at least hustles and surprises you every now and then. Blake is an OK backup point guard, timid with his shot but dishes reasonably well. Goudelock is a talented rookie with a bit of scoring pop. I can live with those guys in those roles.

    Fisher and Murphy simply can not be playing these kinds of minutes. Upgrading those spots to merely average dramatically improves the team.

  9. I can’t believe MWP left Stuckey that open for a three… why does Ben Gordon need a double team? And Stuckey lighting it up all day, how can you come off him that much?

  10. Kobe shot a few long ones when he shouldn’t have. 9 3s is too many for a guy making 28% of them, no matter who he is, and as noted, Prince’s length has always and still does give Kobe problems. Some of that is on Kobe; some is on Brown and the staff, and some is a function of the team’s acute lack of talent among the perimeter players.

    Kobe will have nights when he makes 5/9 3s and goes off–but over time, it is not a sound approach. I do think he needs to take 2-3 a game to keep the D honest.

    But Kobe’s periodic contested iso jumpers are not the main issue with the team: lack of talent at the 1 and the 3 and on the bench is, and this has been clear for a long time.

  11. A couple positives,

    Andrew has 3 straight 40+ minute games and didn’t at all seem winded.

    At least 1 block in 20 straight games.

    Has made 49 of his last 70 free throws

    Stats don’t go down with no days rest.

    I can’t think of a bad thing to say about Drew this season. He’s really stepped it up this year. Good to see him progressing.

    Matthew: Metta has had those lapses all year.

  12. one of the main reasons I am desperate for D12, is because I dread the day I wake up and #24 is no longer on our roster,

    __

    The best argument for Howard is this one–he is the best guy that they might be able to get who can anchor the team over the next 6-7 years, if he were to stay. Add that to how far the Lakers are from the top and your position has merit.

    That said, tonight’s games, in which Bynum went off for a 30/14 and shot 13/18 from the floor but the Lakers lost to an Eastern lottery team anyway, and Howard’s team lost by 16 to a team that is by far the worst in the NBA, drew a bright line under the merits of bringing in mid-tier perimeter players, as opposed to bringing in Howard, as actually being a major upgrade.

  13. @9 – Gordon torched both Fisher and Blake all night. As we were up by one at the time, Metta made the right play by forcing Gordon to pass to Stuckey, as Gordon would have had a wide-open 12-footer to take the lead. The problem was that nobody was there to help the helper by rotating to Stuckey out at the wing. It should have been Fish’s job, but he took himself completely out of the play by staying hung up on the high pick, trying to draw the illegal screen whistle by flailing his arms and jerking his head back.

    I wonder if his tired act is included in the referees’ game plans now. They almost never give him the whistle on that play anymore, even though he still does it five to ten times every game. I have no idea why he keeps doing it, and it’s inexcusable to do it in the final minute of a one-point game. If Barnes had been in the game to replace him on that defensive possession, we could have switched on any high screen, as Barnes down low guarding the rolling Maxiell isn’t a huge mismatch, especially with Gordon trying to see over Pau to pass (or shoot a contested jumper).

  14. I remember LA Times wrote that the reason Lakers hired Mike Brown because he had great defensive scheme in interview with Lakers. Detroit is a very bad team, if you can’t stop bad team with only player who is Stuckey, forget about winning playoff games on the road. Dr.Buss had great success because he choose Bill Sharman to help him. If Jim Buss can’t choose good adviser who has an idea to built championship team, using money wisely, we should only be happy to make a playoff.
    In 2008, Boston won championship, the scary thing about that team they have good bench players, but the GM let them go year after year, they believe too much on Garnett, Allen, Pierce. Samething to Lakers, they pay too much money to Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, and don’t have good bench players.

  15. I mostly agree with Dude’s post, but FWIW, Fisher had a +11 tonight. Murphy, Blake, Goudelock and Barnes were a combined -42. Goudelock only had -4 of that. Kobe was +1; Bynum and MWP +8 and Pau -1.

    The Detroit bench was a staggering +55, lead by Ben Gordon who was +24 by himself.

    +/- is a very blunt tool, but like PER, it often tells you something.

  16. Buzz Lightyear March 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    The problem with Kobe Bryant is that he has never learned The Secret, or he has actively rejected.

    If Magic Johnson was shooting 4-for-13 and he had a teammate who was dominating, he would be perfectly happy to pass the ball to that teammate all night long.

    When Kobe is 4-for-13 and he has a hot teammate, his overarching goal is to shoot and prove to whomever is guarding him that he still “has it”.

    In other words, it’s not about winning, it’s about Kobe.

    He’s a brilliant enough individual player that it being all about Kobe is successful a large percentage of the time.

    But he also has shot, and will continue to shoot, the Lakers out of many games, because satisfying his offensive ego is ultimately more important to him than doing whatever is best on any given night to win the game.

    That’s what separates the true greats like Magic, Bird, Russell, etc. from Kobe.

  17. Fellow Laker fans, a loss such as this didn’t just happened tonight, it has been repeated several times from Game 1 against the Bulls. Lakers lost in Denver after leading most of the game. lost on the road against the Bucks without their best player, against NY without Melo and Amare. When an ailment could not be cured by the doctors, then it is a disease. The doctors are not qualified for the patient! got to find a specialist who will devote more time to find cure to maladies.

    In a nutshell, Lakers are still a contender in the playoffs. They can strike fear to any contender in 7 game series. However, before being ambitious they should find treatment to their balance situations in conquering their weakness on road games. The FO should be able to provide help in finding the remedies. The Coaches should be involved in micromanagement of plays from 1st quarter up to the last quarter. It is not just X and O but delivering teams to victory. It’s easy in saying it but hard in teaching some stuborn, some spoiled, some past due unathletic Laker players. Well, that’s the challenge of being a Laker Coach.

  18. The best way to learn about yourself is to ask someone else ;) Well… The best way we can learn the best way to run our offense is to ask an opposing team…

    LO’L: What do you expect as the approach for defending Kobe? I picture a lot of matchup issues beyond just the inherently difficult task of checking him.

    PH: Is hopping in a time machine and fetching the Tayshaun Prince from the 2004 Finals out of the question? Honestly, I’m much less worried about how the Pistons defend Bryant than how they deal with Gasol/Bynum. Prince is still a serviceable, lanky defender who will bother Bryant’s shots with his length and Stuckey gives the Pistons a big, strong, fast guard capable of good defense when he plays motivated to change up the look they give Bryant. Other than Ben Wallace, who plays very limited minutes, the Pistons don’t have a single credible defensive player in the frontcourt who can remotely handle Gasol or Bynum. If Kobe feels like having a restful night, he can just feed the ball into his bigs for easy buckets and most likely win in a blowout. Now, Bryant can certainly destroy the Pistons’ defense too, but they stand a slightly better chance if he’s shooting a lot than if Gasol/Bynum are getting the bulk of the touches.

  19. This loss should bring the overzealous post-Heat-game fans back down to Earth. Our team is still severely flawed in one too many areas, and unless there are some sizable roster changes, this team won’t even get to the WCF.

  20. I agree with the Dude.
    Fisher was the reason Stuckey was wide-open –World Peace has been superb all game (on the defensive end).

  21. @15 rr – The only reason that Fish’s +/- was so high was that for virtually every minute he was on the court, Bynum was as well.

  22. anti Dwyer Abbott March 7, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Why is Steve Blake not shooting the ball?
    Why is Pau loving behind the back passes and turnovers so much?He is not a ball handler anyway.

  23. Renato Afonso March 7, 2012 at 4:07 am

    DJ,

    Detroit scored 88 points in overtime despite Stuckey going supernova on us… You can say whatever you want about our PG play and their defense and I will agree with you, but team defense was not the issue. If our team is not able to score 90 points in a game with overtime, then we have no business winning that game.

    The issues have been stated time and time again and yet we keep waiting for their resolution. We need a better PG. We need help at SF. We need better bench play. We need better shooting. Why isn’t Ebanks getting some burn at SF? Why isn’t McBob getting some minutes as a hustle guy off the bench? Why aren’t we trying a Blake, Kobe, Ebanks, MWP, Gasol/Bynum combo to increase the tempo if needed? We, the fans, simply need to wait and see what are they doing with this roster.

    What I can say is this: Dwight Howard is not the answer to our problems since Bynum’s play has been solid. What we need, Howard can’t bring…

  24. I have never been a big Gordon fan, but he would be a neat fit on the Lakers.

    @Dude Ab. and why Fish still tries to act on the screens. – I cannot help but think the older and heavier your legs get, the more prone you get to opt for strategies like this. I do not remember Fisher doing this as often in his younger days.

    Btw. I cannot help but enjoy watching T.Prince. He i such a subtle, silent assasin, and plays – as mentioned – the best defense on Kobe ever. I do not think any other player has been slowing Kobe down this consistently. Kudos to him.

  25. Even though I am a D12 fanatic, the most certain way to improve the team is by adding at the 1+3 by trading TPE/Picks/Garbage. It is logical, because you are “adding”. Trading Pau or AB is obviously going to make the short term results of any trade debatable. I believe the FO understands this simple logic as well. However, the reason they are not proceeding with that, is due to the D12 logjam, and also, because they have to convince themselves that the adds will be enough to matter. The FO wants a top 3 team or they may not be in the mood to add salary – which is what using picks and the TPE does. We have 8 days.

  26. Unless Orlando will take Bynum straight up for D12, and D12 then signs an extension, I would not make any deal with them. Adding picks and taking back their crap just to get D12 I think would be a move done out of desperation and hurt the team going forward. Orlando has the most to lose as they simply cannot let him walk and D12 is so starved for attention that I would not count on him resigning if I am them. To me his value goes down everyday and they have not traded him because they think he is worth more then Bynum. Without a contract, he is worth less then Bynum and when he leaves in the summer, Orlando is the new Cleveland.

    I used to think otherwise, but I would give strong consideration to trading Pau for Rondo. Pau is my favorite Laker, but getting younger and filling a need is important going forward. I dont even think Boston would make that deal not so much because they like Rondo, but because they know it makes us better.

    Without a point guard or some real dominating athletic swingman type, the Lakers are not built to win. Standing pat may sound good if there are no options to get better, but standing pat is tough as you watch Kobe age.

    I think the league loves to see the Lakers in this position and I am still angry they did not sue the league after the CP3 trade was voided. A team run by Jerry Buss would not have just dropped it.

    I think Kobe’s window is closed and how the team and he handles his transition to retirement is going to be interesting to watch. Can Kobe tear up his contract and sign a new one for less money? If he wants to win with the Lakers I think that is the only way the pieces can be acquired to make this team a legit contender. Its hard to say that because Kobe, Andrew, and Pau could get this team to the finals with some luck as the West is really a glut of teams that are not that better then each other.

  27. An opportunity to get closer to the top seed and have a better seeding come play off time was lost. A 12 pt lead was blown away by the second unit instead of maintaining or building on such lead.
    So who are we to blame? More and more I am believing that our bench play is more of a cancer than our point guard problems.

  28. Yesterday was a bad team loss but the coaching was much worse to me. Couldn’t draw up a play for the hot hand in Bynum. And still had Fisher and Metta on the floor when Detroit was playing small should have slid Kobe to the 3 put Blake and Goudelock in.

    Can somebody tell me why Brown had Murphy and Gasol on the floor with 5 seconds left down 3?

  29. Please keep trade speculation out of these threads. There are several recent threads where those talks can live. If you have a question about this stuff, email me. The link is in the right hand sidebar. Thank you.

  30. Buzz @16: You are entitled to your opinion – however it just happens to be wrong : ) Your last sentence states that Kobe is not a “true great”. He obviously is. He is in a different category than Magic or Bird – true – because he is in MJ’s category. Magic and Bird were the ultimate team players and KB and MJ are the ultimate dominating players. Both types have been successful. During Kobe’s career, we have been to the finals 7 times and we have won 5. Do you really think that emulating Magic would have produced better results, than the path that Kobe took? Also, please realize that Kobe won in 2009+2010 with no other HOF players on the team. That is a feat that nobody else has done. Finally, he does not choose himself over the team. It does appear that way at times, because Kobe truly believes that by him dominating, he is giving the team the best chance to win. That attitude is specifically what makes him great.

  31. The Dude @21,
    Wait… It wasn’t Fisher making Bynum look good out there? I love Kobe. But I always let the defense dictate how I to run my offense. The reason the role players got so few shots is because they suck. Haaha. But also because we ran our offense through Kobe and via the perimter. That opened a lot of lop opportunities for Amdrew Bynum indeed. However, I’m less concerned with how many points Andrew scores and more concerned with how many points the Lakers score.

    This game was a microcosm of the entire Lakers offense this season as far as how other teams defend us. Kobe Bryant has not been double teamed on the perimter (unless he is trapped on PnR) and doesmt take the ball to the hole anymore. This means he isn’t creating the kind of open shots for his teammates he has done for his entire career. He has turned into a Carmelo Anthony one on one scorer. That isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    Half the teams in the league don’t have the one on one potent scorer Kobe is today and it usually would be the best way to run your offense. Unfortunately the Lakers have the best low post player in today’s game (says Goerge Karl) in Andrew Bynum and a guy who usually sees constant double teams. Have you noticed how smoothly the Lakers second unit offense runs with Bynum as their anchor? I would imagine it would look even better without four scrubs on the floor with drew.

    Bringing it back to last nights game… The Pistons tried to single cover Bynum in the post. They didn’t have too much succsess with that strategy but the Lakers didn’t get the ball down low to him in the post enough to make the Pistons change their strategy and start sending help. Hence their wasn’t open shots for the role players. And we know those guys can’t create their own shots.

    Remember… We shouldn’t be focused on shot attempts for Bynum. Those don’t matter. What matters as I’ve always been saying is paint scoring touches for him. It’s the best way to run our offense to get guys easy shots, to get Kobe easy shots. It’s the way basketball has been played for over fifty years.

  32. 13.

    Dude you said: “I have no idea why he keeps doing it, and it’s inexcusable to do it in the final minute of a one-point game.”

    ~~You know why, because when you get older in a fast pace action job, you become lazy and lethargic, can’t do anymore the reflex of a younger player. Just observe people in a nursing home, they have good days and bad days. Well, Fisher is not in that category yet but he and Luke should be ashamed of themselves in being a hindrance to their team success. If they have some sensitivities, they should be honest and volunteer to do other jobs than playing basketball. With Fisher, there are some good moments, with Luke he is the most expensive cheerleader in this team wasting a space in the roster. Lakers could have gotten a revolving 10 day contract player from the D’league who could shadow Gordon or Stuckey but NO, our resolve is to stay with the inept players who are empowered by a big blunder in handing them a useless contracts.

  33. One of the things I appreciate most about the commenters on this site is that they maintain their reverence for Kobe but still are willing to call him out for a less than stellar performance. Hubie Brown repeatedly comments that Kobe is smart enough to go to the basket and get to the foul line when his shot is off. Tonight he stubbornly refused to attack Tayshaun Prince off the bounce, and the Lakers have another pathetic loss because of it. However, I don’t want to focus on Kobe’s shot selection in this post. I want to talk about the far greater problem developing on this team:

    Kobe’s defense.

    Tonight, he was simply atrocious. This whole Rover Role has got to stop. Defensive breakdowns are typically the result of something the OFFENSE does, but tonight, numerous defensive breakdowns occurred because Kobe triggered them by drastically over-shading players or being overly aggressive and not fundamentally sound defensively.

    The most egregious of these plays was the crucial Maxiell tip-dunk. The play started with Kobe on the left wing guarding Stuckey. Instead of staying solid, Kobe was overly aggressive, Stuckey blew by him, the help chain reaction left nobody on Maxiell and the result was a dunk.

    Watching Kobe play defense these days reminds me of the old Wooden adage, “Don’t mistake activity for achievement.” He APPEARS to be an active defender, and he does a lot of shading to one side or the other, but he has clearly lost the lateral movement to step slide and keep people in front of him, and is compensating with too much shading and overplays on the ball. This results in help situations where the rest of the Lakers are forced to cover huge amounts of court to both stop the ball and block out board crashers like Maxiell.

    Tactically, this is creating problems for the Lakers. Why was Ron guarding Stuckey? Stuckey torched him off the bounce all night, because Ron is too slow to keep up with him. We were hiding Kobe on Prince all night, because we need Kobe’s offense more than Ron, and Kobe doesn’t have the energy to be an All League defender and Carry an offense. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Blake and Fisher are weak defenders as well.

    I love Kobe, and tonight his offense was frustrating, but nowhere near as frustrating as his defense. Yes, the lack of production for the rest of the team was terrible, but Kobe’s D is the elephant in the Laker Room nobody seems to want to talk about.

  34. Add another loss tonight

  35. Couple points…

    I think it’s time to give Murphy’s minutes to McRoberts. He’s bringing so little else to the floor if he isn’t shooting lights out he shouldn’t be playing.

    Steve Blake is a marginally better offensive player than Derek Fisher (which isn’t saying much) but, man do teams attack him on the defensive end. Blake is trying but he might be the worst defensive player in the league, he has zero lateral quickness and no strength to at least disrupt drives to the basket.

    The Lakers should give Barnes some time at the backup 2, and give Goudelock more time at the point.

  36. Archon: How about giving Ebanks some run too. I’m tired of seeing these predictable frustration fouls by Barnes.

  37. Kobe had another one of his heavy shooting nights and people want to point to him as the reason the team lost. While I don’t like seeing his 8/26 line, I can’t put this on him.

    You can only feed the post so much. At some point perimeter players have to make shots. If the post guys are killing the other team they will adjust and start packing the paint. That means someone has to at least try to hit some outside shots to keep them honest and give the bigs room to operate. It just so happens that no Laker could hit anything from outside. When the team scores 85 points through overtime with their big three scoring 20, 22, and 30 points it is clear the problem is not Kobe. Too often the Lakers are getting nothing from guys not named Bryant, Bynum, and Gasol.

  38. TRogers,
    Please read my post @31

    Archon,
    “The Lakers should give Barnes some time at the backup 2, and give Goudelock more time at the point.” agreed!!!!

  39. @38
    Amen.
    Kobe hatred is off the charts..

  40. This game was a team loss, really. The bench scored 7 points and the non-Big 3 scored 13. The Lakers’ defense was spotty and their rebounding left a lot to be desired. Kobe shot a bit too much considering his accuracy and he settled for the jumper too often.

    When you add in a couple of singular plays (Pau choosing to hit Ron for the jumper rather than throw Bynum the lob in the closing minute; Fisher getting buried on that pick that led to Stuckey’s three pointer to put them up by 2; etc, etc) this game is on everyone. If any single one of those plays or trends are reversed, the Lakers get an ugly win that brings them back down to earth some but with the benefit of actually getting the W. Instead, they lose and it’s hellish for this team again. Sigh.

  41. I didn’t think Ebanks got enough run to show his skill set but was he going to be a significant upgrade over Barnes? I doubt it.

    Frankly there’s a whole lot of Lakers that in a perfect world would be playing a lot less minutes and the only one who definitively should be playing more on this team is Andrew Goudelock.

    Mike Brown knows that but how do you bench a Laker icon like Fisher, when your the new head coach and the team hasn’t totally brought into your system yet?

  42. Buzz: I have not forgotten your posts of about 1 month ago where you were calling for the team to be “blown up”. Your KB view is consistent with that. Do you still feel the same way?
    Haters: If you think KB needs to morph himself into Magic, while simultaneously thinking that the Lakers “only need tweaks”, you need to re-evaluate your position. Clearly : )

  43. The KBros said before the season that dealing with Fisher’s playing time would be Brown’s biggest personality management/team dynamics issue. Paul obviously would have solved that problem as well. I think it is likely that Kobe still wants Fisher out there with him at the end of games, but that time is over. Phil and The Triangle are gone.

    Brown has three guaranteed years on his deal and a nice buyout for year 4. He is Jim Buss’ guy. He is in a position to make changes if he wants to.

    I actually think that Blake, as mediocre as he is, should be starting and going 30-35 minutes a game now. But Brown seems like he is not going to go there.

  44. rr,
    I’m pretty sure like Phil Jackson did for years…. Brown doesmt want to cause issues in the lockeroom by benching a veteran player. Luke Walton had to ask to be benched for Phil to insert Ariza into the starting lineup. These guys know how to be managers of people. That’s their main job. Brown is resigned to waiting for a real NBA PG to arrive via trade to bench Fisher.

  45. Kobe sucked, Fish is too slow and sucks, Blake sucks, Pau sucks, they all suck. Come on guys, they are human beings not machines. We sit here and do our arm chair analysis we forget that kobe has 16 years on the job and fish nearly as many. Pau Metta all vets. Guys how many of you get up and psyched for work every day. Dont you mail it in some days? Travelling to Detroit in the dead of winter….yeah lets get excited about that. They had a bad night and guess what they will have more. Mitch tried to fix this and the league shot him down. Jim buss has his own agenda i dont like it, most of you dont either but its his (well his daddy’s) team. This will not be our year. Im not mad. Just a realist

  46. Btw… Did anyone see Big Game James have a break down on the Lakers post game show last night? I’ve never seen anything like that before from him. He was just bashing Kobe and Mike Brown for not getting the ball to Bynum in the post more. It was inappropriate amd I’m sure he will be issuing an apology. He had his head on the desk just yelling “13 for 18″ over and over again. It was pretty funny. He just lost it as the KBros pointed out on their postgame video chat.

  47. One thing that can be done without a trade is getting our PG’s to shoot more. How can they take a total of 4 shots between them? Mind boggling. Steve Blake has a good shot. Why he doesn’t look for it more is a mystery to me. Even during the winning they were running a few plays for fish, that gave him a couple of 18 foot jumpers. If our guards are not spreading the floor it hurts our bigs and Kobe.

  48. Buzz Lightyear March 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

    @30 and @43

    Kobe Bryant is a tremendous individual basketball talent, maybe second only to Michael Jordan.

    But I have “old school” notions about how the game of basketball should be played. One of those notions is that the “W” at the end supersedes all individual goals.

    If I happened to be a professional basketball player, I don’t think I could be on the same team as Kobe Bryant.

    It wouldn’t take too many of Kobe’s jacking up 26-footers over double teams before I’d be in his grill saying “Hey, superstar. You’ve got 4 teammates. PASS THE F*****G BALL!

    It would not take too many of Kobe’s defensive lapses before I’d be in his grill saying “Hey, superstar. Here’s how it works: EVERYONE on the team plays defense. If you’re too good for that, go sit on the bench.”

    If I were a Los Angeles Laker, I would quickly get traded because I’m pretty sure Kobe would deck me for constantly harping on his selfishness.

    That would never happen on a team with Bird, Magic, Russell, etc. Their play demonstrated that they were all about winning, regardless of who took the shots or who got the credit.

    As for blowing up the Lakers, I’m still an advocate of that.

    I don’t see the point of having a $90 million team payroll to watch a team that alternates hope (e.g. the Miami win) with despair (e.g the Detroit loss and many others).

    They are first-round or second-round playoff meat as currently constructed.

    They are first-round or second-round playoff meat given any “tweaks” that involve realistic trades.

    Any significant trade involving Gasol or Bynum either doesn’t produce create enough additional advantage (e.g. Bynum for DH-12 means our PGs still suck) or doesn’t compensate for the loss of an All-Star big man (Gasol for Lowry/Scola solves the PG problem, but our PF goes from All-NBA to “serviceable starter”).

    The salary cap rules mean that there is no way to rectify this situation prior to the summer of 2014 unless the Lakers “blow up” the roster to get significantly under the cap.

    Given the strength of this year’s college draft class, I think this is the year to do it.

    Waiting simply means more frustration and more luxury tax payments for the Buss family.

  49. On Kevin Ding’s article, Kobe said that he’s dead tired with new aches on his neck. On top of that, he just paid 40K to NBA league for not appearing on NBA Cares, a day before ASG. Pierce and Rondo were also fined for 20K. How would you react if you get a traffic ticket? the fella is just completely tired playing long minutes, being mauled by double teams and also maintaining his own practice regiments to keep up with the young. To top it all exploited by hatred to those who despise his guts. This guy did not even go to College yet he has accomplished a lot in life fueled by his ego to be great.

    I am not a Kobe fanatic who’d adore multi millionaire players who make their decent living by just playing basketball. There are some scientists and soldiers who deserve to be compensated more than a basketball star. Life is not fair. However, if there is any Laker treasure we have at this time, it is Kobe. No matter how good he is, he deserves good coaching and as a mortal he needs rest as well. he needs the support of F/O to surround him with players who have good dispositions to score and play D on their own. Among his contemporaries like KG, McGrady, Vince Carter, Kidd, JO, Nash, Reggie Miller, Duncan, they are almost washed out and done. Kobe is still there competing with the youth and carrying a team.

    Here is my proposition to the F/O and Coaching Staff, why don’t you find ways in getting some “help” and do some great coaching without Kobe in the lineup. Let him rest for at least five games just like what they did with Dirk Nowitsky, Dwayne Wade and other stellar stars who have injuries. My question, can the Lakers win a game without Kobe?

  50. Darius @41: “Instead, they lose and it’s hellish for this team again. Sigh.”

    Very well stated. I feel your pain. We have been teetering between 3 seed and 8 seed all year. As currently constructed, in order to be at the top end of this bracket, everything must go right (as you have often pointed out). An additional problem, as some of us spoiled fans have pointed out : ) is that even at the top end of this bracket, we are still only the “6th” best team in the league : )

    Still fun to watch though and your board makes it even more enjoyable.

  51. Everyone in LA was prasing Kobe since the ASB then one bad game and it’s the same narrative about getting the teammates. Blaming Kobe is the easiest out in Lakerland. The problems more so are roster issues and coaching.

    I think we can all agree while our big 3 is great together. It’s done all it can do together. Kobe settles for jumpers a lot because their is no space in the past late game that’s why Odom was such a vital part of the team because he was able to space the floor. The perimeter is a problem unless there’s a major upgrade their we will see theses same problems.

    This coaching is horrible. Late game I saw the same thing LeBron did in Cleveland. PnR it worked some resulted in some nice plays but Bynum had it going coaches should call a play for him. Brown didn’t adjust to Detroit’s match-ups on the floor. And he left Gasol, Metta, Murphy in the game with 5 seconds left needing a 3.

    Am I the only person who’s not in denial and think Lakers should start rebuilding around Bynum and Kobe? I need answers

  52. Edwin, being dead tired is all the more reason why you should not jack up 28 shots on a night that your big men are dominating like on no other night. Take a break, dump the ball down low, and wait for the next game to have another break out performance. This was more than a bad day at the office by a tired guy, this was a bad day at the office by a tired guy who kept taking on more work instead of deferring to his more able (on this night, anyway) colleagues….